Flying Nun Records

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Flying Nun Records
Founded1981 (1981)
FounderRoger Shepherd
Genre Indie pop
Indie rock
Country of originNew Zealand
Location Auckland
Official website www.flyingnun.co.nz

Flying Nun Records is an independent record label formed in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1981 by music store manager Roger Shepherd. [1]

Contents

History

The label was formed in the wake of a flurry of new post-punk-inspired labels forming in New Zealand in the early 1980s, in particular Propeller Records in Auckland. The intention was to record the original local music of Christchurch, but soon the label rose to national prominence by championing the emerging music of Dunedin.

The Pin Group's "Ambivalence" 7" (the first band of Roy Montgomery) was the first release from Flying Nun, although it is widely assumed that "Tally Ho" by The Clean was the first release, as it unexpectedly reached number nineteen in the New Zealand charts, bringing the label unanticipated profile and income. This was followed by the seminal Dunedin Double , a release which cemented the place of the southern city in the forefront of New Zealand independent music. Flying Nun moved into the full-length album market in 1982 with the Ego Gratification Album by Chris Knox and Beatin Hearts by Builders (recorded 1982, Auckland).

Many of the most prominent kiwi rock and alternative bands have been signed to Flying Nun at some stage in their careers. In 2000, Australian youth radio network Triple J produced a list of the thirty "Greatest New Zealand acts of all time", twenty of which were Flying Nun artists. The label has been home to various styles of music, including the much-debated Dunedin sound, "high-end pop with a twist", lo-fi experimentation, strongly Velvet Underground-influenced pop, minimalism, industrial, and rock-electronic crossover.

In 1999 Matthew Bannister of The Sneaky Feelings wrote Positively George Street: A Personal History of the Sneaky Feelings and the Dunedin Sound, covering the New Zealand music industry of the 1980s, including Flying Nun.

In 1990 Festival Records bought a fifty percent stake in Flying Nun, and then in 2000 merged with Mushroom Records, bringing Flying Nun into the Festival-Mushroom Records family of companies. Flying Nun was acquired as part of the purchase of FMR (Festival Mushroom Records) by Warner Music Group in 2006. A consortium that included Shepherd bought back the label from Warner on 21 December 2009, for "more than what I sold it for". [1] New Zealand musician Neil Finn, his wife Sharon, and another business partner together own a quarter-share in the repatriated record label. [2]

In 2013, American label Captured Tracks announced plans for selected reissues of Flying Nun's back catalogue. [3]

In the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours, Shepherd was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to the music industry. [4]

Roster, early 1980s to mid-1990s

Roster from the mid-1990s

Since the mid-1990s many of the original stable of artists have split up or moved to other labels, including Xpressway Records (Port Chalmers, New Zealand), Arch Hill Recordings (Auckland), Powertool Records (Auckland), South Indies, Paris or Matador Records (United States). A similarly eclectic new generation of bands is signed to Flying Nun, including:

Compilations

Flying Nun also released compilations of a cross-section of its artists. These are now the only easy-to-find documents of certain featured artists.

Further reading

See also

Related Research Articles

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Sneaky Feelings was a 1980s New Zealand pop/rock band, led by Matthew Bannister, which recorded on the Flying Nun label. Initially recording with the line-up of Bannister (guitar), David Pine (guitar), Kat Tyrie and Martin Durrant (drums), Tyrie was replaced by John Kelcher early in the band's career. Durrant left shortly before the band's demise, and was replaced by Ross Burge.

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Able Tasmans were an indie pop band from Auckland, New Zealand, initially formed as a duo in 1983. They released four albums and two EPs on Flying Nun Records before splitting up in 1996.

The Stones were a New Zealand band from Dunedin named after the Rolling Stones. One of the earliest bands to record on the Flying Nun label, they helped form the style of music known as the Dunedin sound, along with label mates such as the Chills, the Verlaines and Sneaky Feelings, all of whom appeared alongside the Stones on the seminal Flying Nun release the Dunedin Double EP.

<i>Fall in a Hole</i> 1983 live album by The Fall

Fall in a Hole is a live album by the Fall, recorded in Auckland in August 1982 and released in December 1983 on the Flying Nun label of New Zealand.

Dribbling Darts were a New Zealand band based in Auckland which existed from 1989 to 1993. The name is a quote from William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act I, Scene III: "Believe not that the dribbling dart of love...".

<i>Dunedin Double</i> (EP) 1982 EP (Double) by Flying Nun Records

The Dunedin Double EP was a seminal record in New Zealand music. An unusual format, it contain two 45rpm 12" discs, and at nearly 50 minutes length, it is longer than many albums.

Mainly Spaniards were a 1980s New Zealand pop group led by guitarist/singer Richard James, who released an early 45, That's what friends are for, on the Flying Nun label. A follow-up was recorded but never released after James moved to Auckland to work as a schoolteacher in late 1983. He went on to perform and record in The Pterodactyls and The Letter 5. In 2008, he formed The South Tonight with John Kelcher, late of Flying Nun band Sneaky Feelings, and with other Christchurch musicians.

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Jane Dodd is a New Zealand musician and contemporary jeweller. From 1982 to 1984 she studied for a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Otago, majoring in Phenomenology of Religion with additional papers in Anthropology, History, Art History, Maori Language and Philosophy. She is well known for her role as a bass player in early Dunedin-based Flying Nun Records groups The Chills and The Verlaines, was a long-standing member of Auckland group Able Tasmans, and occasionally played with side-project The Lure of Shoes.

Pan Am was an alternative rock band from Auckland, New Zealand.

Kaleidoscope World is an early song by New Zealand band The Chills. It appeared as the first track on the Dunedin Double, a seminal EP shared between four bands, which launched those bands' careers nationally and internationally.

References

  1. 1 2 McNeilly, Hamish (23 December 2009). "Founder re-acquires Flying Nun after ten years". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  2. Hume, Tim (21 February 2010). "Finn helps finance rebirth of Flying Nun cult record label". Sunday Star Times. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
  3. "Flying Nun to partner with Captured Tracks". 2013. Archived from the original on 7 November 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  4. McDonald, Liz (4 June 2018). "Anti-establishment Flying Nun founder just wanted to get music on the record". The Press . Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  5. "Various – Roger Sings the Hits". Discogs.